(FinalCall.com) – The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan made public last week his most recent letter to United States President George Bush.
Once again, the leader of the Nation of Islam expressed concern that America was steadily moving down a path that would lead to divine destruction and bring greater anxiety to a nation gripped by fear of war, an economic recession and an uncertain future.”I am not your enemy, nor am I an enemy to this country, but, I do believe that the course that you are guiding the nation on will increase many enemies for you and the nation at home and abroad,” the letter warns. (See full text of the letter.)If America continues in her obsession for war against Iraq, the United States will experience increased natural disaster, the Minister warned.It was the second such letter sent by the Nation of Islam leader. And its predictions rang true: Since Oct. 30, eight states and two-U.S. controlled territories have been declared major federal disaster areas by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The year 2002 had already been rough for several states, said disaster officials.
Rain, hail, snow and earthquakes
Some local and state gov-ernments already struggling with deficits and budget cuts were hit with a double whammy. Out west, wildfires and drought had already taken their toll, but next came torrents of rain and snow:
– Storms coming off the Pacific Ocean caused at least 13 deaths and plunged millions of Californians into darkness in late December. The worst of the storms produced five straight days of rain and snow from Washington, down the coast into southern California. Downtown San Francisco was pounded with 50-mph winds and hail. In Oregon, high winds knocked over a tree, which came crashing into a house, killing two people as they lay sleeping in their bed. A snowboarder was killed by an avalanche at a Nevada ski resort, as several feet of new snow combined with high winds to produce deadly conditions. Six people died in California as a result of flooding. At the height of the storm, nearly two million people were without electrical power. Daily rainfall records dating back more than 60 years were broken in both Los Angeles and San Francisco, when more than two inches of rain came down in 24 hours. Kirkwood, in the Lake Tahoe region, picked up an incredible 112 inches of snow from the storms.
On the other side of the country, things weren’t much better. The week of Dec. 25, more than 23 deaths have been associated with the storm that blanketed the northeast corridor of America dropping up to three feet of snow in some places and with high winds creating snow drifts, of five to seven feet, according to meteorologists.
Besieged by a three-day ice storm Dec. 4-6, more than 20 lives were lost, mostly due to car accidents, and nearly 2 million customers were without power from the Texas Panhandle to the Carolinas with North Carolina having more than 1.5 million residents left in the dark.
More than 42 counties have since qualified for disaster relief from FEMA, which amounts to payment of 75 percent of the total costs approaching $100 million. But with pockets already empty, state administrators wonder where they will find the money to pay the state’s share. North Carolina is facing a possible $2 billion shortfall in its $14 billion budget this summer.
Parts of Arkansas, Missouri and Mississippi were still cleaning up after an outbreak of severe weather produced several tornadoes, which killed at least three people and injured dozens more. In Arkansas, the twister outbreak lasted more than eight hours on Dec. 24. Hardest hit was the town of Enola, where authorities were having a difficult time determining if the homes that were destroyed were mobile homes or frame houses, as so little was left of them to sift through.
From Jan. 1 to Nov. 30, 2002, the Red Cross responded to 258 large-scale disasters in 44 states, the District of Columbia, three U.S. territories and a U.S. Air Force base in Korea.
These large-scale disasters cost the Red Cross over $67.6 million and included one hurricane, one typhoon, four tropical storms, 41 floods, 29 tornadoes, an earthquake, 11 wildfires, six ice or hail storms, four transportation accidents and 149 large apartment fires.
Said Marsha J. Evans, president and CEO of the American Red Cross, “The large disasters make headlines, but what you don’t hear about are the more than 60,000 disasters our 987 chapters across the country responded to this year–mostly single-family fires.”
Of the Red Cross top five, hurricanes, floods and tornadoes dominated. Tornadoes this year, according to Compu-Weather statistics, were responsible for 55 fatalities at Final Call presstime.
October’s Tropical Storm Isidore and Hurricane Lili, slammed their way through the Gulf Coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. With a powerful, one-two punch within one week of each other, they caused widespread flooding and wind damage to tens of thousands of homes. Eight consecutive months of floods and tornadoes in Texas, required massive Red Cross resources, the relief organization said. There were 12 large-scale disaster relief operations in Texas this year.
Trouble abroad for America
“If the President of the United States seems to show no respect for world opinion or for the thoughts of the members of the Security Council of the United Nations, then, your actions will turn the nations of the world against you and against America. Your actions will also render the United Nations as an ineffective institution for future peace keeping,” the Minister wrote. Conceding his words may prove futile in the face of a presidential desire for war with Iraq and Saddam Hussein, Min. Farrakhan warned:
“Mr. President, if you do this, you will bring down upon America an increase in the Divine Judgment of rain, hail, snow, wind, earthquakes, pestilence and famine that is already witnessed in this country. As you go about destroying other nations and cities, you will bring this kind of Divine Wrath on the American people and on American cities.”
“Nations are becoming afraid of you (Bush) and the tremendous power of America. In this state of fear, they will not stop trying to attain weapons of mass destruction because they believe that is the only thing that you will respect,” he said.
“Min. Farrakhan is a citizen of the world. He has to look at problems of the world, through the lens of his religious understanding. His prophesy, of the wickedness of governments and people in high places have become a lighthouse for those who’ve lost their way,” commented Rev. Al Sampson, the Chicago-based pastor of Fernwood United Methodist church. Rev. Sampson accompanied the Minister on a peace mission to several countries in the summer of 2002.
Besides the European and Middle Eastern hesitancy to back a U.S.-led military excursion into Iraq, the U.S. faces a crisis with North Korea, which admitted to having an active nuclear weapons program. The communist nation threatened to expel UN weapon inspection teams, declaring them pawns of U.S. domination. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld first declared the U.S. could essentially fight North Korea and Iraq at the same time. Secretary of State Colin Powell backtracked Dec. 29, saying the U.S. would not appease North Korea but would consider talking–albeit through third parties–to calm the crisis.
North Korea, however, stood strong against the U.S. pronouncements. A Foreign Ministry spokesman urged countries to buck U.S. calls to exert diplomatic pressure on the communist nation. The trouble is America’s arrogance prohibits negotiations, said a spokesman for the North Korean Foreign Ministry Dec. 29, in a statement carried by KCNA, the state-run news agency. The spokesman condemned the U.S. for “trying to threaten, blackmail and destroy us with nuclear weapons, gripped by the Cold War way of thinking.”
Iraq compliance and Bush frustration
The administration Dec. 27 ordered the Atlantic fleet carrier USS George Washington and either the Pacific fleet carriers USS Abraham Lincoln or the USS Kitty Hawk, according to published reports, along with their battle groups including cruisers and destroyers, prepared to head to the Gulf region on 96 hours notice. Pentagon officials decided to notify up to 50,000 ground troops that they may be sent to the Gulf region. The United States currently has about 60,000 troops in the region, according to Pentagon officials.
In Baghdad, Iraq on Dec. 28, in compliance with the UN Security Council resolution that re-instituted UN weapon inspections, the Iraqi government handed over to the UN inspectors a list of more than 500 experts reportedly involved in the development of ballistic missiles, nuclear, chemical and biological weapons so that they might be interviewed.
Iraq continued to say it had met all UN requirements. Meanwhile the UN remained reluctant to openly act as a U.S. proxy and Arab governments grappled with how to handle the Iraq-U.S. conflict.
A Dec. 28 New York Times report said that Saudi Arabia had given American military officials consent to use its airspace, air bases and their operations center at Prince Sultan Air Base outside Riyadh, Saudi Arabia’s capital for the U.S. war on Iraq. But uncertainty over Saudi cooperation pushed the Pentagon to proceed with plans to build an alternate air command post in Qatar, in the United Arab Emirates. It is there the overall American command for Iraqi operations will be headquartered, according Defense Secretary Rumsfeld.
Publicly, Saudi officials remained noncommittal about allowing their territory to be used as a staging area, for war against Iraq.
“It’s all an open question,” said Senator Chuck Hagel (R-Nebraska), a member of the U.S. Foreign Relations Committee, who traveled to Saudi Arabia in December. “If we stay close to the UN and give countries like Saudi Arabia the political cover they need, yes,” Mr. Hagel said, Saudi support of U.S. interests can be expected.
“If the U.S. veers off course and moves toward a unilateral position with the Brits, then that puts those Arab governments in a very difficult spot,” he said.
As America lobbies nations for support, voices of dissent have not quelled. Anti-war demonstrations are on the rise in America and throughout the world. A Dec. 27 ABC television news poll found 56 percent of Americans are worried over the outlook for the incoming year and that 35 percent of Americans are personally concerned for what the future holds as a result of pending war with Iraq.
There was plenty of reason to worry at home:
– Jobless benefits lapsed for 800,000 workers Dec. 28 and a battle between the Democrats and Republicans was imminent.
– States were facing a collective deficit of some $60 billion for the 2003 fiscal year. The money problem was so bad that many rainy day funds have been depleted and several states opted to save money by releasing inmates guilty of non-violent offenses early.
– The U.S. Conference of Mayors bemoaned an average 19-percent increase in requests for emergency food and the dearth of low cost housing logged by a survey of 25 cities.
– The Employment Law Alliance, in a survey released Dec. 28, warned that 2003 was likely to be another tough year for workers. Continued job cuts will go hand in hand with “a flood of wrongful practice allegations, including age discrimination and whistle-blower retaliation,” it said.
“I agree with the Minister. I think that this whole idea of the war on Iraq is misguided and the African Americans in the Bush cabinet offer no direction. The rationale that America is giving for attacking Iraq based upon their supposedly having weapons of mass destruction and the willingness to use them is hypocritical. Because one nation I know of that has weapons of mass destruction and has used them has been this nation,” said Rev. Damon Lynch III, pastor New Prospect Baptist Church in Cincinnati. “This is not a just war, and it may not be the end of Iraq, but it will definitely implode this nation. Because it will not be a moral war nor a righteous one and unrighteousness will not go unpunished,” he said.